It's every gay man's fantasy-to travel the globe in search of sex. One lucky travel writer has done just that, and here he chronicles his diverse encounters while on the road-from a man in wet Speedos on a Puerto Rican beach, to a uniformed Russian train conductor, from a lonely boy in a Senegalese village, to a naked and smiling Aboriginal in an Australian frontier town. What he finds are the raw universal physical needs of men beyond the bounds of race or identity, and the fleeting and intangible nature of sex itself.
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Wet Speedos in Puerto Rico
Seeing Red in Estonia
A Vegas Losing Streak
The Senegalese Air
Making Love Not War in Russia
Skin on Skin at an Australian Beach
Savior for Sale in Ghana
A Tale of Two South Dakota Gay B&Bs
Glass Walls in Hawaii
Burning Man and the Temporary World
A Sore Orifice in Mykonos
A Rescue and a Lost Prince in Tahiti
A Moroccan Banana
A Bathroom Wall on a New Zealand Beach
A Dying Cat in Hong Kong
That Plane to Cape Town
A Parked Car in Palm Springs
Antarctica and Icy Hearts
A Drunken Taxi Ride Through the Magic Kingdom of Orlando-20
Changing Waters of Egypt and the Pacific
Greenland, the Melting of the Ice Age, and the Coming of the New World Order
Travel and sex. Peanut butter and jelly. Sonny and Cher. Syphilis and penicillin. It’s a classic combo.
Cavemen wandered in search of food, to expand their primal footprint. The conquistadors were starving for silver and gold. Men walked on the moon just to prove they could. What possible purpose could traveling serve the human being in his modern form, besides his ego? You can hop on a jet, and in a few hours you’ll be magically transported from one world into another, via sitting in some sort of celestial microwave oven housed in a long metal cylinder. You disembark into a different reality, with all the sensual potentials—the smells, the visuals, the tastes, the living flesh of other humans waiting to be touched. You feel heightened. You feel, you smell, you taste, you arouse, you cum. You had an experience. You’re satisfied. Promises have been met, the brochure didn’t lie.
You have a story to retell—if you were able to capture it at all as it slipped through your fingers.
You move on, you move back to where you came from. You hope the place is still there when you get back, as you left it, wherever it is. Your movement was back and forth, to the place you visited and back. It was movement without progress? That thing you tasted, that person you smelled. The sun on your face. Was it all real? Did you take it back with you somewhere under your skin? Did it mix in with your DNA? Did it leave a lasting mark, or will it all fade away like your careful tan lines?
I hate going back to the same place twice. I’m spoiled. I’m a travel writer. I’ve been doing this since my twenties, and I’ve been traveling to foreign countries since I was twelve years old. It’s so much a part of my reality that I don’t know my life otherwise. My fate is to wander, to wander. Everyone thinks it’s so glamorous. It’s what they really want to do. What they dreamed about doing. Can I tell them what it’s like, how to break into it? Any tips? Please, anything? They want it, the glamorous life. Like all things with the word “glamor” dangling from it, it’s not nearly as glamorous as it looks, or as others want it to be. It’s expensive, it’s tiring, it’s frustrating, it’s teasing, it’s fleeting. It’s life—it’s gone. It merely hints at how colossally huge and truly unfathomable the world is, how you will never be able to see it all or get to the end of it, ever. It’s depressing at times. It’s disconcerting. It’s like a dream. And yes, it’s a drug.
These pages are a diary, a confessional, a record of what happened, to somehow make it all real and permanent—these unreal and transient moments. The tales are fantastical and masturbatory, but the facts are as solid and honest and unforgiving as the earth.
I’ve got to see over seventy countries, and have sexual encounters in most of them. Even Greenland, even Antarctica—the ends of the planet. They’re in this book, like a record of attempting sex in space, trying to live out the most primordial needs in the most inhuman of settings. I’ve had sex on trains, on boats, in speeding cars—in a horse carriage for God’s sake. (But oddly, now that I think of it, never on a plane. Does an unfinished under-the-blanket hand job by a swarthy Brazilian flight attendant on a Varig flight back from Rio count?)
Yes, I know, it all makes me a slut, I get it. I’m one small step up from a male stewardess, a trolly dolly. I accept it. I am a promiscuous traveler. And the title is that on two accounts. The first reason is a little more oblique: I never like to go back to the same place twice. The second is more traditional: I’ve tasted so many different types of men. Young, old, big, small, brown, black, white, straight, gay, or simply just men. I appreciate all the tastes of all the cuisines of the world. I want to feel their energy towards me, to feel their energy radiate through their skin to mine, like metal warming metal. I want to smell their hair, taste the flavor and texture of their ejaculate. I want to be a special specimen for them, some American variety of human they’ve always fantasized about but never had. From the movies, from TV, from the web sites, from wherever modern dreams derive. I want to be as exotic as they are to me. I want to serve myself up as a dish for them to devour. And they are devoured in return.
I have a huge appetite for the world. I want to know what everyone is like, what is around the next bend. I don’t want to leave the Earth without having had a good taste of it.
And I sadly recognize I will never get to the end of my quest.
Orbis non sufficit, as Alexander the Great’s tombstone and James Bond’s coat of arms tell us so succinctly. The world is not enough.
And like those two pinnacles of portable promiscuity, I am always the trick and never the husband. I also know I will never experience what I am supposed to. I understand this is my fate.
Cavemen, after all, knew their territory, knew the changing of the seasons, knew their plants, knew their place within the cosmos. It’s in our human DNA to come from somewhere, to be from somewhere, to know something intimately as ours. I have forfeited this ancient knowledge for an artificial reality, a virtual reality of schizophrenic experiences that may leave no mark, at least in the physical world. I will never know the place that I am briefly dating in all its moods, all its stages of maturity, all of its hues. I get a snapshot, and that’s all I get. Places do become lodged in our body, but only on a microscopic level. I am not attached to them or anything, I float.
I am the stranger icon—I live in oblivion wrestling with nothingness.
But when something is sacrificed, something is always received. I have gained the world, or at least huge swathes of it. I can bridge peoples and lands, I can mediate, I can explain. I am all-seeing, I am global, I am Cubist. I have recreated myself as a three-dimensional being, but one that is simultaneously translucent. Yes, I may have lost my soul in one or more of those places that temporarily claimed me. In those men that remain nameless, faceless, but are also lodged there under my skin. At least I think that’s where I left them.
Do they ever think of me the way I do about them? Do they even remember? Do I? We used each other’s flesh, and sometimes emotions, for a brief moment in time and space. Was it Teflon, or did it stick? Did we literally slip through each other’s arms? Slide right past each other? I want everything to matter, but maybe there are some things that simply don’t.
I know, I know, I know, I know—you can’t take it with you. There are no souvenirs in life. We’re all just passing through. Everything is retreating from us, even the stars. I hate that.
Maybe that’s why I’ve embraced it and taken it in all the way to its extreme—I move through people and places, onwards towards something, some destination I may never get to. There were many glances over my shoulder, many times I thought I should curve my path back around and stay here with this stranger and follow what could (should?) be my new life. But somehow, I didn’t. It’s ok, I tell myself. Transience is the structure of the world, and there’s little you can do to change it.
We can fool ourselves into thinking we’re traveling to see, to experience, to meet the man of our dreams, our ultimate reality. But as with most of life, we’re probably fooling ourselves. With our eyes on our predetermined prize, the true goal always arises from around our blind sides and comes up to take us over and we never see it coming, ever. The piece of flesh before you is tangible and real and hefty and delicious—and then, like a meal, it’s consumed and it’s gone.
The flesh is one thing, but the spirit is always attached to the back of it.
Wet Speedos in Puerto Rico
Ispotted him in a blue Speedo standing in the waters of the Caribbean. The sea was murky with dark warm waves. The Speedo was light blue, soaking wet and nearly see-through in the sinking sunset. There was a small red label on the right hip and an interior drawstring that was tucked in and didn’t show—just a faint outline. The material clung to his brown bulge, visible through two layers of crotch fabric.
This worked for me.
The Speedo fetish I’ve had since a teenager has granted me the gift for noticing such details. The only erotic outlet available to me as a boy (beyond collecting men’s underwear ads, and my own crude stick figure sex drawings) were clandestine stares at my father and his friends lounging around on their boats with nothing covering their adult genitals except thin, flimsy bikini trunks. This was the 1980s. It was a time when hiked-up, narrow, French-cut men’s swimsuits were acceptable during some peculiar form of sexual innocence or sexual ignorance. (For those who weren’t alive, cross-dressing pop music stars and grown men wearing the color fuschia also occurred during this era of modern history.) My dad’s and his pals’ bulges jutted on display in a strange macho reversal of outward femininity—in-your-face primal peacock-strutting by way of Spandex. Heavy metal bands of the time followed the same visual philosophy. For a horny, barely-legal gay boy, ’80s Lycra was the ultimate gift from the Gods, bulging manna from heaven.
My favorite protuberance of them all was that of the Australian Paul, who wore the skimpiest Speedos of the lot—barely a half-inch of material covering the sides of his tan, muscular hips. Sometimes, the narrow band would slip and I could see how truly white his real skin tone was. I often jacked off picturing what the dark tan lines must look like outlined on his naked body. He owned an array of suits in bright and light colors—the best hues for showing every bump and ridge, I carefully realized. Paul had a bushy mustache and a blond chest that was the living incarnation of my erotic ideal at the time: Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I.
One day during the hormone-fueled rage of being fourteen years old, Paul finally caught me gawking—probably salivating—at his manly prominence as he sat with his legs spread in the cockpit of his ketch. I could clearly make out the wide, oblong head of his penis resting peacefully on its side, with the high ridge of its pointed hood, even the fine lines of his soft amber pubic hair, showing through the thin yellow material. Tarzan’s stripper loincloth had nothing on this public display of male groin.
But Tarzan was oblivious to his sex appeal, and Paul wasn’t. Like the pointy codpieces of the Renaissance, Paul let all passing females know what they could be in for, if they played their cards right. He showed it off to the world, right through his male bikini. When his wife was away, I sometimes witnessed random females disappearing below his deck, following his Speedo pied piper pipe in a hypnotic daze.
I wasn’t so lucky. For him, my laser stare on his crotch must have felt like a magnifying glass under direct sunlight. With almost a yelp, he hollered down to his wife below to throw him a pair of shorts. His plea was almost frantic. And here I thought I’d been so coy. The sex-deprived urges of my teenage virginhood stalked this grown man as prey. It was the first time I had power over an adult heterosexual man. His bulge’s cockiness was no match for the perverted laser gaze of a young single-minded homosexual.
Later in my twenties, I’d hook up with older guys who kind of looked like Paul, and I’d make them wear Speedos while I fucked them on all fours on the floor.
And now here I was in my thirties, finding myself staring at more Speedo bulges, this time in the warm waves of Puerto Rico. Why exactly I had traveled here, and who I was writing a travel article for, has melted into that hardened lump of past irrelevance. The things we forget, and the visions we remember.
I was staying at a gay beachside hotel called the Atlantic Shores. It was located in Condado, a district just outside of the historical, cobblestone confines of the Old Town of San Juan. It was a place trying hard to be Miami, but it tasted more like margarine than butter. Upscale shops and flashy renovated hotels were trying hard to hide their struggle to overtake the derelict liquor stores and empty shop fronts. It was one of those places halfway through its midlife crisis facelift—street crews courageously attempted to fill in potholes and patch up sidewalks in what appeared to be a losing battle against the mildewed, urban decay of a tropical outpost of America.
It was off-season, and I found myself trapped in the thick humidity of a Caribbean summer, an insect on moist flypaper. Only an odd handful of lost tourists (like myself?) seemed to be eking out the idea of a vacation amid the stained buildings. It was America, but it wasn’t. I ate crappy food at Wendy’s across the street from the hotel and tried to understand the weird Spanish floating all around me, markedly different from the Mexican-flavored Spanish I grew up around in Southern California.
I ventured out to the gay nightclubs I had found online, located in the grittier Santurce area, a bit of a walk from my hotel. Puerto Rico was by far the gayest place I’d been to in the Caribbean, and I couldn’t leave without having a taste of some of it. I’ve done it a thousand times—exploring a city’s gay underbelly—and it seems that every time it’s a chore to push myself out the door. I don’t know why. A mixture of retroactive shyness, fear of rejection, laziness, everything. Like I’m eighteen again and anxiously sneaking into my first gay bar. I always press through and am rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment, even if it’s never as exciting or interesting as it’s supposed to be. I found myself on the balcony of a dark disco, surrounded by strange looks from effeminate young men and scary looks from older heavy men, and me feeling like I had a flashing light on top of my head. No one was unfriendly, and a few drunks tried to strike up awkward chit chat. Everyone spoke English. Some of the Spanish slang I had to translate later: guys calling each other loca (“crazy girl”) or maricón (“Mary”); bugarrón y bugarra (macho straightish guys who fuck gays); bellaco (horny); and bicho (dick). And my hands-down favorite was the local word for gay—pato. It means a duck. Like in the animal. What the hell?
I left the bar, and made the journey back to my hotel. I had heard the beaches in Puerto Rico could be dangerous. And cruisy. Day or night, but especially night. I had read about local gay people being killed on the island, many of them, and in bad ways: burned, decapitated, dismembered. And the police blamed the victims because of their “type of lifestyle.” Nothing different from any other state in the U.S., but I knew I had to watch myself either way. Gay sex had only been legal in Puerto Rico since 2005. Sodomite identity on the uber-Catholic isle was all brand new. Even the deep dark corners of the remote Pacific isles I had been to had crossdressers and gayness happily interwoven into their cultures. But one thing I’ve learned through years of traveling, one languid tropical locale does not equal another. In closeted Puerto Rico, one famously homophobic politician was only outed when a photo surfaced of him bending over to show off his asshole to the world via a gay sex site. His excuse was that he had been working out and wanted to show off his new muscles. Good one!
Near the entrance to my hotel, a macho-looking guy in jeans and a white T-shirt was hanging out at the end of the street, before it hits the sand. He kept staring at me. Was he planning to rip me off? To rape me? I followed his nod and followed him down to the beach. He stood beneath the cement wall, with the streetlight directly over his head, creating a type of dark halo. He pulled out his long, uncut cock. I went up to him. I figured I could yell and someone at the hotel would hear me, at least just before my throat was cut.
He pushed my head down and I smelled his cock. I hate head cheese, and thankfully this smelled fresh. I pulled back the long foreskin, and felt his big cock grow even longer in my mouth, pushing itself away from the back of my throat. It became so long I could barely breathe. I was massaging my cock out of one of the legs of my shorts, and his hairy hand was on the back of my neck. I was trying to suck quickly. Random noises made it seem like there were still some people lingering in the shadows on the beach. All I could see were the city’s lights blinking on the waves. He had better cum quick.
The stranger called me puto, said something about leche, and finally pulled himself out of my eager mouth and sprayed pump after pump of fresh cum all over my forehead and face. It dripped over my eyebrows and into my eyes. He smiled a devilish grin as he watched it spit up all over me. One hand kept my balance on the wall. I was trying not to fall over, like I was being shot at with a gun. My other hand milked each dollop of sperm from his veiny brown shaft. I put my mouth over the cummy head, trying to drink it all down with my throat. That way, I wouldn’t have to walk back through the lobby of the hotel and smile to the girl behind the desk with cum stains splattered down the front of my shirt, like a crime scene. Hopefully, I wouldn’t have to talk with her or she would probably smell the stranger’s huge cumload still on my breath, in the corners of my mouth. I rubbed all the sperm on my forehead into my hair. Hopefully the globs of ejaculate mixed into my hair wouldn’t be too obvious.
As I walked down the tiled hallway back to my room, my semi hard-on still flopped around in my loose shorts. I noticed my neighbor’s door was open. There were no lights on, but the TV flashed shadows across his bedspread. I could hear the sounds of a bad sitcom laugh track. I peered in. I could see that it was the smiling older Colombian daddy whom I had spoken with briefly in the lobby that morning. He grinned at me, and waved me inside. He pushed back the ugly nylon fire retardant bedspread from his body to reveal that he was completely naked. His thick cock lay to one side, waiting for me. Almost winking at me. I quickly surmised why he had kept his door open, willing himself to stay awake, waiting for me to come home from the bar so I could peer into his door and find him there like this.
His trap worked. I soon found my cock out of my shorts’ leg again and myself nursing on my second thick hairy brown cock of the evening. He groaned but said nothing as I pulled back his foreskin and played with his unshaven balls. He shoved his hands down my shorts, and began playing with my asshole. I was glad there was no sand on it from the beach. He pulled out his fingers, spat on them loudly, and shoved them back down my pants. I knew it was going to happen, so I yanked off my shorts, held his thick shaft up to my hole, straddled him on top of the bed, and sat directly on his thick daddy dick. I watched his eyes grow big at the way I was not wasting my time. The taste of the last guy’s load in my mouth made me hungry for more cum, it was true. And fucking my next door neighbor was easier and less dangerous than bringing someone home from the bar or the beach. At least that’s what I told myself as I pushed up and down on his cock, calling him papi until I could feel his dick twitch and swell and fill me up with so much cum that it smeared outside all over my ass cheeks. Like a light switch, his orgasm altered him from horny to instantly embarrassed, and his body nearly recoiled from me. I got the message, pulled on my shorts and left his room, saying gracias. Why even be polite? I guess I wanted to leave on a not-too-awkward note. He nodded and ran into his bathroom.
I went back to my room, locked the door, and fingered his fresh cum dripping from my ass. I bent over and looked at my sperm-filled hole in the mirror and jerked off thinking of the two hot loads I had collected in less than a twenty minutes from random strangers who had surfaced in front of me out of the depth of the warm night. I shot all over the floor and let it all dry there as I fell asleep.
I hadn’t pulled the blinds shut, so I woke up to a searing blast of sunlight pushing its way through my windows. The room was already stuffy and hot. I pulled myself up naked from the bed and stood at the glass and looked out. Bunches of young people were on the sand, wearing long surfer shorts. Some clumps of overweight lesbians sat underneath palm trees, a mother held her son in the water, and a couple of teenagers (gay? straight?) splashed each other. There were one or two overweight older guys in Speedos. No one looked up at my nude form in the window. The day was already on a full steamroll.
The décor of my “suite” on the third story of the Atlantic Shores Hotel looked like TheGolden Girls: rickety wicker furniture and faded flower patterns and an idea of the Tropics without the production. I almost felt more comfortable in the time warp of it all, like I had stepped into some old movie of twenty years ago, aged into the present day. I wandered down and joined the random gays sitting on plastic chairs on the hotel’s outdoor patio overlooking the beach. The scratchy radio played Shakira over crackling loudspeakers. The unkempt bartender told me how great the Atlantic Shores used to be years ago. How the Sunday tea dances were enormous; how the rooftop used to be a nightclub with the hottest guys; how I should come back in season since it would be better then.
I kind of didn’t care. I liked the idea of having the place to myself now, in its decayed form, when you could see it for what it really was. Without makeup on, aging in the bright sunlight, all of its cracks and wrinkles there for everyone to see. Like open wounds. The area would soon be cheerily modernized like everything else in the coming world, and all the texture would be gone. (My premonitions were spot on: Years after my stay, the Atlantic Shores became an upscale straight hotel.)
I went up to the rooftop and could still see where the DJ booth must have played to hot shirtless guys overlooking the cement skyline all those Sunday afternoons ago. The tiles were dusty and dirty now, and only a cracked plastic chair sat in the corner. Someone had left a cheap paperback book on a table. I picked it up. Some stupid English language romance trying to disguise itself as a real novel. I looked at the copyright. It was over twenty years old. I set it back down, like an artifact that shouldn’t be disturbed.
I stared out over the ocean for a while. All the residential high rises levitating up around me, but I could see nothing.
I began to sense the rushed approach of the Puerto Rican sunset. It fell in a depressing black instant. I had met a Puerto Rican lesbian author in New York City once, and all I can remember from her memoir of the island was the echoing line, “How dark the night is in this place where I was born.”
I took the tiny elevator back to the hallway to my room. The Colombian daddy’s door was shut tight. Earthquakes of jackhammers could be heard a few floors down, where the hotel owners were trying to upgrade something or another before darkness fell. Why bother? It would be easier just to tear the building down, or let it collapse on its own. Let the salt air and blasting sunshine have its way with it. It wouldn’t take very long. Just let the past die, honorably. Don’t resuscitate it. You wouldn’t splash water on a gasping fish dying on a hot sidewalk, would you? You’d step on its head.
The Doors sang on my iPod:
What got us this far
To this mild equator?
We need someone or something new
Something else to get us through …”
I couldn’t drag myself to another bar, and I couldn’t just sit in my room all day. I called my lesbian friend in Florida, and she said I sounded lonely.
I finally logged online to a gay hook up site, and soon found a photo of two beautiful dark brown legs ending inside a well-formed Speedo. I quickly complimented the owner of the legs, and he quickly said thanks, and I quickly suggested we meet on the beach in front of my hotel. Then he paused a great while. I didn’t want to beg, but I felt like it. After I sent another compliment or two, he finally relented and told me he lived only a couple blocks away from the hotel and that he’d meet me on the beach wearing the Speedos in the photo.
I galloped downstairs into the rush of the coming sunset. The scratching of my sandals echoed in the stairway. I waited, afraid I’d bump into the questioning white T-shirt daddy I had sucked off here the night before, but in the stark truth-telling light of day. I waited on my towel, trying to suck in my stomach, trying to pose casually in my Speedos on one arm, trying not to feel like a fool or even care about a stranger I’d never met before. I tried to be inconspicuous.
I scanned the sand for a while as the light kept dying in front of my eyes. I finally saw a jet-black-haired man waist-deep in the waves. I waited for the water to retreat around his groin, and there it was—the same light blue Speedo I had seen on the Internet.
His body was muscular, beefy, and smooth. And well-proportioned, like a careful drawing. He was short, clean shaven, and very handsome. On cue, the setting rays of light dipped behind some clouds. The soft, diffused light gave him the aura of an aqua dream, a Botticelli male Venus rising out of the Caribbean sea.
I lost my inhibitions as I heeded the Siren’s call. I waded into the water wearing my own black Speedo. I smiled, and he knew it was me. I took him further out into the water, and hugged his wet, hairless body. We began to kiss, and I was surprised he was so open about our sudden entanglement, he being a guy from the neighborhood and all. Anywhere one goes in the world, tourists are easy, anonymous prey for locals. Just as long as your friends don’t see.
The sticky saltwater embraced us, forming a kind of cocoon around us. The sun sank into the ocean, and we trudged back out of the water, trying to hide our erections in our clingy swimsuits.
He was a lawyer, nearly forty (although looking ten years younger in that Latin way that makes me so envious). He didn’t smile much, even when I tried to make some lame jokes. But when he did smile, it lit up the whole beach. He was smart, coy.
“Can I take you out to dinner sometime?” I heard myself saying. Why did I say that before I had him naked? He just smiled and laughed. I’m the last person to offer a date after a first kiss on the beach, but I simply wanted to spend more time in his presence. A vision flashed in my mind of me back on the island on some future trip and sitting on the beach and laughing and kissing him in the salty, dark waves.
After a quick visit to my suite (the management says no guests allowed upstairs, but I somehow escorted him up without a hitch), he pulled down his damp trunks, and I liked seeing them in a wet heap on my tiled floor. He lay back on the bed, I tasted the salt on his body, and suddenly it seemed to be over. I know he came, but I don’t know how. All my memory recalls is his damp trunks going back on and him down the hall and vanishing back into the wall of high rises behind me. I ate dinner alone that night, I forget where.
I emailed him again, called him even, trying to sound casual and good-natured on his voicemail. I walked the empty beach at night, staying in the streetlights and away from any strange outlines moving towards me.
The Doors continued on my iPod:
“When all else fails
We can whip the horse’s eyes
And make them sleep
And cry …”
I never heard from him. My Venus had faded away as quickly as he had appeared. Maybe back into the sea where he had originally come from. Maybe another night with him would have made him too human, too flesh and blood. Maybe it was better I was alone now. Maybe that was all I needed from him.
Now he would remain my fantasy—and never my reality.
Seeing Red in Estonia
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